Postgraduate students reveal their entrepreneurial skills

April 2015

Students on UCB’s MA Culinary Arts Management course combined their creative thinking and business acumen to present their ideas for a new pub business to a panel of industry professionals. 

As part of their Culinary Management Project module, students were asked to create an innovative pub concept and produce a comprehensive business plan that demonstrates how their business would be sustainable in the current economic climate. 

Food and beverage sector entrepreneurs Mark Keeley, Tim Taylor and Craig Knight were there to assess the teams’ project management skills and how well they analysed their product and potential market development activities. 

Three teams of students each came up with their own brand and their own unique selling points: Big & Ickle was a family-focused restaurant; Casa Brasileira was a Brazilian-themed establishment and Chicken & Co served a wide variety of poultry dishes. 

The students produced very thorough ideas, taking into account important factors such as location, competitors, choice of food and beverages, USPs, financial viability, marketing and promotion and profit and loss balance sheets. 

There was also a practical element to the presentation, with the judging panel ordering from menus and sampling the students’ cuisine. There was a real focus on individual customer experience and personalising meals, such as adding extras or adjusting portion size. The students had also done research into making the ordering process more digital, such as incorporating app menus and pre-ordering meals online. 

Paul Russell, Dean of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management at UCB, said: “The students all demonstrated the qualities of a successful food entrepreneur – combining creativity with attention to detail. They focused on the quality of the food as well as on kitchen management systems and bottom line profit. 

“The invited industry guests praised the depth of their analysis as well as their food and felt that each of the concepts could succeed in what is a very competitive market place. 

“The real benefit of this module, and of the Culinary Arts Management course in general, is that it develops the students’ employability skills – meaning that they have what it takes to stand out from the crowd and excel in their future careers.” 

The winning team will be awarded iPads, with the possibility of some of their ideas being implemented into new food and beverage ventures by the judging panel.

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